An Post moves to distance itself from US parcel costs complaints

An Post has moved to distance itself from charges being levied on people receiving air-mail parcels from the United States.

The company has received hundreds of complaints about the charges and a spokeswoman said it “expected hundreds more” in the weeks after Christmas. She stressed An Post was no longer responsible for the delivery of air-mail parcels from the US and this service had been taken over by a private contractor.

The contractor, General Logistics Systems, Ireland (GLS), is a Dublin-based subsidiary of Consignia, formerly the Royal Mail in Britain. The United States Postal Service (USPS) signed an agreement with Consignia over a year ago to deliver air-mail packages from the US to 23 countries in Europe. Last Christmas more than 600 people refused to pay the charges which generated over 100 complaints a day to GLS and An Post, despite the fact An Post was not responsible for them.

The spokeswoman for An Post was responding to a letter in yesterday’s Irish Times from a man who was told by GLS he would have to pay E124.44 “for the payment of VAT, import duty and its own administrative fee” in order to receive “a modest gift parcel” from his brother in the US.

“As the amount stipulated matches my weekly disability benefit, I find myself unable to meet the company’s demands,” the letter stated.

Failure to pay the fee means the parcel will be returned to his brother.

An Post said it had been “inundated” with complaints about the charges “because people automatically assume it’s something to do with An Post. But we are out of the picture completely”.

No one from GLS (Ireland) was available to comment yesterday though a pre-prepared statement from the USPS was made available. It said recipients of packages mailed from the US to Europe are “subject to duties, taxes and an administrative fee for customs clearance”.

Copyright: all material © The Irish Times.

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